The Importance of Being Little

The Importance of Being Little

What Preschoolers Really Need From Grownups

eBook - 2016
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"A bold challenge to the conventional wisdom about early childhood, with a pragmatic program to encourage parents to rethink how and where young children learn best Parents of young children today are in crisis: Pick the "wrong" preschool and your child won't get into the "right" college. But our fears are misplaced, according to Yale early childhood expert Erika Christakis. Children are hardwired to learn in any setting, but they punch below their weight when "learning" is defined by strict lessons and dodgy metrics that devalue a child's intelligence while placing unfit requirements on the developing brain; we have confused schooling with learning. The race for good outcomes has blinded us to how young children actually process the world, acquire skills, and grow, says Christakis, who powerfully defends the preschool years as a life stage of inherent value and not merely as preparation for a demanding or uncertain future. This grounded, sensible book offers a ray of light in a dim and frantic world--with the message that before we can teach our youngest children, we must better understand them. In The Importance of Being Little, Christakis explores what it's like to be a young child in America today, in a world designed by and for adults. With school-testing mandates run amok, playfulness squeezed, and young children increasingly pathologized for old-fashioned behaviors like daydreaming and clumsiness, it's easy to miss the essential importance of being a young child. She provides meaningful solutions through a forensic analysis of today's whole system of early learning, from pedagogy and science to policy and politics. "--
Publisher: New York, New York : Viking, 2016
ISBN: 9780698195011
0698195019
Branch Call Number: EBOOK OVERDRIVE
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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mclarkmaine
Aug 25, 2017

All I can say is this was a total snooze fest. It was literally painful to read. I did pull a few pearls out but if I had to rewind I would skip this one over.

JCLChrisK Apr 14, 2016

Christakis begins with a very simple premise: that, for preschoolers, schooling and learning are often two different things. That young children are much more powerful and capable than we often give them credit for, that they primarily learn through relationships and play, and that the educational push to make their school experience more focused on "academic readiness" runs counter to their natural inclinations for learning.

She then spends nearly 400 pages comprehensively exploring that idea across the many dimensions and aspects of early childhood education. She has been a child, parent, teacher, and academic, and all perspectives figure into her considerations. At times she's a little too unnecessarily jargony with her educational and academic language; at other times she's a little too wistfully nostalgic for childhoods of times now past and reliant on her own version of common sense; but she is always thorough in her considerations. Whether you are already on board with her premise, are tentatively willing to be converted, or find it misguided and want to debate her, this is a book worth engaging. I highly recommend it for all educators and suggest it for all parents as well.

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